By Abdul Ruff
Tamil nadu in India has witnessed a youth led agitation to restore the jallikattu as part of Pongal festivities. This popular move reminds of anti-corruption movement led by Arvind Kejriwal-Anna Hazare in New Delhi that sought Lokpal Bill to check corruption in high offices.
The youth agitation in Tamil Nadu for reinstating Jallikattu has made the Pongal sport known all over the world as global media also have begun reporting the state vs. people conflict. Many states in India alike Maharashtra and Karnataka have supported the Jallikattu agitation.
Jallikattu is the bull taming sport of Tamil Nadu played on its soil for several centuries. Jallikattu is an integral part of the ancient tradition of Tamil Nadu and is inextricably linked to rural and agrarian customs and has religious significance for the people of Tamil Nadu. Jallikattu also addresses the cause of conservation of native breeds
From the past one week, Chennai’s Marina Beach has been thronged by massive crowds demanding to lift the ban of the traditional sport, and now seeking a permanent solution.
Yesterday, protesters in Alanganallur did not allow Panneerselvam to inaugurate the Alanganallur jallikattu which was cancelled. Later talking to media persons, the Chief Minister said that even though jallikattu was not held at Alanganallur, it was organised smoothly in many places all over the state. This is the first session of the Assembly after the demise of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Indian Supreme Court has disallowed the Jallikattu celebrations as part of Pongal festival and rejected the appeals for resumption.
Unable to pacify the angry but peaceful protestors with mere promises, the Tamil Nadu assembly on Monday passed a bill that replaces an ordinance and legalizes Jallikattu, the bull taming sport, in the state. The Bill was earlier was tabled in the assembly for approval. Tamil Nadu Governor Ch. Vidyasagar Rao on Saturday approved the ordinance issued by the state government revoking ban on Jallikattu. Jallikattu Bill passed unanimously in TN Assembly.
Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the ordinance promulgated by the state government and said that Jallikattu is to be conducted with customary fervor with all necessary safeguards.
Despite some unfortunate incidents, the agitation has been a victory for the Tamil people. The Jallikattu Bill has been passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislature, and after some formalities (assent of the Governor and President of India ) will become a permanent law. So instead of demonstrating any further, Tamilians and others should prepare a grand celebration. It has been a victory of the people. You can hear me at 6 p.m. on Ajtak channel. Although it is a Hindi channel, I will put in some English words so that non Hindi speakers can understand.
January 23 Monday morning witnessed a renewed clash between agitated locals and the police here at Marina Beach, now a battleground for the Jallikattu issue, as protesters swarmed in droves demanding a permanent solution and not a ‘temporary’ ordinance.
Students leading the Jallikattu protests here torched several vehicles and fought pitched battles with police. The police used teargas shells to disperse the protesters who assembled at several roads leading to Marina and started throwing stones. All routes to Marina Beach have been cordoned off.
The police action came as the state assembly met here on Monday for the first time in 2017 with Governor C.H. Vidyasagar Rao’s address. The eviction began after week-long protests across the state. The protesters demand a “permanent” solution by amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in the Assembly.
The police physically pulled out the demonstrators sitting at the protest venue. The scene reminded of a ‘tug-of-war’ game but without ropes as protesters held back the colleagues who were being pulled out by the police. In Coimbatore, protesters from VOC Ground were also removed. The police pounced on a protester who stood up with a kerosene canister and threatened to self-immolate. They were successful in taking away the inflammable liquid. The protesters in Madurai remained adamant and the police were trying to convince them to disperse.
The police have asked protesters in other parts of the state to disperse. Agreeing to the request, demonstrators in Tirunelveli district have decided to call off the protests. However, the protesters have decided to continue their agitations in Madurai, even as talks are still on between them and the police.
At Alanagnallur, villagers singing not Tamil anthem but vande matharam and saare Jahan se achcha while saying we won’t stop protest. Clash between protesters and Police in Madurai’s Alanganallur, an injured protester being taken to hospital
The state government on Sunday organised Jallikattu in several places following the promulgation of an ordinance enabling the same. But the protesters demand the central government take out bulls from the list of performing animals.
There has been a lot pressure from federal government in New Delhi on Tamil Nadu government and TN government on the protesters to end protests to enable the government to proceed with republic Day celebrations. A few leaders of protestors signaled they want to end the agitation at least for the time being and allow the government a couple of months to make the necessary amazement to make Jallikattu a regular feature in the state. However, majority of protesters want to continue the struggle until jallikattu is legally cleared for the usual celebration.
After the promulgation of the ordinance, P. Rajasekhar, President of the Jallikattu Pathukaapu Peravai, appealed the protesters to call off their agitation. ‘Hip-Hop Tamizha’ Adhi, a rap musician whose song support of Jallikattu attracted the protesters, also distanced himself as the demonstrations were progressing in a different direction, he said.
While the protesters anger is severe against the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), in most of the protest venues there were slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam. Some of the placards held by few protesters were vulgar and indecent and there were also signs demanding separate Tamil land.
Further, thousands of regular commuters have been facing inconvenience due to cancellation of trains and termination ahead of destination owing to protests on rail tracks and bus services in the city of Chennai. . The Southern Railway on Monday announced cancellation of 16 trains. “Around 40,000 passengers are affected daily due to disruption in train services. Many passengers may be travelling to attend interviews, join duty or even for health reasons,” a senior Southern Railway official preferring anonymity told IANS.
Amid Jallikattu protests, fire breaks out at police station near Chennai’s Marina beach
The Jallikattu protest remained peaceful for a week in Tamil Nadu but turned violent with demonstrators throwing stones at police following eviction action against them at the Marina beach here. A fire broke out at Ice House police station near the Marina Beach. Vehicles near the police station were set on fire by protesters. Vehicles near Ice House Police station Chennai set on fire. All MTC buses stopped.
The Jallikattu protest that remained peaceful for a week in Tamil Nadu suddenly turned violent early in the morning with demonstrators and police seen throwing stones at each other, following eviction action against them at the Marina beach here. Furious that they had been ousted from the beach, the pro-Jallikattu protesters set fire to the vehicles parked at the Ice House police station.
In a street in Triplicane area near Marina beach, protesters in large numbers threw stones at police which later retaliated with a baton charge. The police used teargas shells to disperse the protesters who assembled at several roads leading to Marina and started throwing stones. All routes to Marina Beach have been cordoned off. The eviction began after week-long protests across the state. The protesters demand a “permanent” solution by amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in the Assembly. Jallikattu is a popular bull-taming sport of Tamil Nadu. The police action came as the state assembly met here on Monday for the first time in 2017 with Governor C.H. Vidyasagar Rao’s address. The police physically pulled out the demonstrators sitting at the protest venue. The scene reminded of a ‘tug-of-war’ game but without ropes as protesters held back the colleagues who were being pulled out by the police.
Who is the mischief maker? And why?
There are many in Tamil Nadu itself who oppose jallikattu saying it is animal cruelty and fully charged bulls could attack the people in the crowd as they try to run out of human ‘brutal’ contort. Moore over, people generally consume liquor and drugs in order to overpower the bull and declare victory over it. The defeated fellows lose prestige in the h society.
While it is busy with poll process of state Assemblies n the country, the BJP ruled federal government seems to be worried about continuing Jallikattu protests on the Marina Beach among other venues in the state and the waning prospects of conducing the republic Day celebrations on Marina beach drive- the usual venue for national parades. The miscreants seemed to have cleared the way for the parade on January 26 and rehearsals before that.
CM Pannerselvam is unhappy about the turnoff events which if he could have controlled could have been avoided.
BJP leader S Swamy said the Republic day celebrations on Marina beach are more important than the protests for jallikattu. Who are the anti-national elements he talks of there? This sort of explanation justifies the police action. Youth and students have been evicted from Marina beach but the pain and insult of police action would not die down as easily as Swamy thinks.
Peaceful agitators have apparently been provoked by police to go violent so that the agitation could be ended forcefully. That is unfortunate.
Meanwhile, DMK’s Working President and Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu assembly, M.K. Stalin, condemned the police action as authoritarian. PMK leader Anbumani Ramadoss said the party was withdrawing its plans to hold Jallikattu protest on January 26 as the state government has passed an ordinance that permits the sport.
Stalin condemned the police action on the protesting students and youth with ulterior motives. Former Attorney general Soli Sorabjee earlier in the day said that the Jallikattu Bill will pose a serious constitutional challenge. The Supreme Court had banned the sport resulting in a massive protest by students and the youth in the state starting on January 16.
Stalin has asked the governor Rao to investigate the police action on the peaceful agitators in Chennai and other places and the governor has assured him of prompt action to book the culprits.
Don’t people have the right to protest peacefully in India?
Obviously there is a high level conspiracy to make the peaceful protest for Jallikattu go violent so that police could disperse them. Police that so far supported the agitators are thrashing them abruptly. TN CM Pannerselvam visibly is annoyed that he was not allowed to force agitators in Madurai to end agitation and celebrate “victory”. Is police also angry with the protestors or is it being regulated by some upper hands in Chennai or New Delhi?
The Jallikattu agitation should have ended with a happy note by distributing sweets but it has been forcefully put an end and for this Tamil nadu government alone is responsible
The agitation, now for jallikattu essentially to make the MLAs and MPs, TN government to wake up to anti-Jallikattu move to insult Tamils, would be a permanent feature to protest in Tamil Nadu politics for fighting more issues in future.
It was a distressing day for people of Chennai. It is unlikely that Tamils will take it lightly if state and federal government take them for an easy ride with promises.